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And the Award for Excellence in Teaching Goes to…

By Tiffany Miller
Staff Writer

Three LIU Post professors will receive the David Newton Award for Excellence in Teaching, the university’s highest teaching award. Dr. Alexander Henderson, associate professor in the department of health care and public administration, Benjamin Gerdes, assistant professor of broadcasting in the department of communications & film, and Katherine Ahern, assistant professor in the department of English, will receive the awards at a ceremony at LIU Brooklyn on April 10.

Each year, members of the campus community nominate LIU professors, and the nominations are reviewed by a campus-based Newton Awards Committee comprised of LIU Post faculty members who are previous recipients of this award.

Photo by Nick Tangorra
Alexander Henderson, associate professor in the department of healthcare and public administration

Henderson has taught at LIU Post for seven years. He teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in the Department of Health Care and Public Administration. He holds a Ph.D. in public administration (‘11) from Rutgers University-Newark, and an MPA (‘04) and a bachelor of arts in political science (’02) from Villanova University.

Giovanna Domingo, a senior accounting major and student government association president, is in Henderson’s administrative be the department of communications & film behavior class this semester. “I think he’s amazing; you can tell he is passionate about what he is teaching and is very engaging in class. He doesn’t just read off a powerpoint, but rather encourages class discussion,” she said.

Henderson has written over 20 publications, including articles in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters, and an edited book titled “Municipal Shared Services and Consolidation: A Public Solutions Handbook.” Before teaching at Post, he was a fire fighter and emergency medical technician for a little over 11 years, and also served as the chief administrative officer of a 9-1-1 paramedic service for three years.

“I’m humbled to receive the Newton Award. I distinctly remember hearing a previous Newtown Award winner speak at the new faculty orientation when I arrived at Post in the fall of 2011, and I was in awe of his passion and intent focus on supporting students during their time at Post. It’s been my goal to embody those same things in the classroom. I’m grateful for the support, advice, and encouragement from colleagues during my time at Post,” he said.

Photo by Jada Butler
Benjamin Gerdes, assistant professor of broadcasting in the department of communications & film

Gerdes has been a professor at Post for almost five years, teaching undergraduate courses, including Advance Digital Audio Production and Producing The TV Newscast. Before coming to the university, he was a professor for almost 10 years at a variety of schools, including SUNY and CUNY. He holds a bachelor of arts in modern culture and media (’03) from Brown University and an MFA (‘09) from Hunter College-CUNY. A writer, artist and organizer in the film industry, his work has been exhibited and screened at art galleries, museums and film festivals including Centre Pompidou (Paris), National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), New Museum (New York), Museum of the Moving Image (New York), REDCAT Gallery (Los Angeles), Rotterdam International Film Festival, the Tate Modern (London), and the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar.

“I’m honored to be selected by colleagues and the institution, I feel that I’ve been supported in my efforts to make my classroom both critical and experimental spaces for my students. The support of my department and peers to be able to teach has been amazing and I’m honored for this recognition,” Gerdes said about his nomination.

Photo by Tiffany Miller
Katherine Ahern, assistant professor in the department of English

Ahern has been teaching at LIU since the fall of 2012. She holds a Ph. D (‘12) in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM Program) from North Carolina State University, an MFA (‘07) in Creative Writing (concentration in fiction) from George Mason University, and a BA (‘04) with honors in Creative Writing with double major in Decision Science from Carnegie Mellon University.

“I moved to New York from the D.C. area specifically for the position at LIU Post. I think it’s important to have the freedom to pursue my research and teaching interest. I’m honored to teach in the English department. I feel fully supported by colleagues, and I’m fortunate to have a voice and design my own courses,” she said.

The David Newton Excellence in Teaching Awards were generously endowed in the name of Dr. David Newton, a former executive vice president of Long Island University, by former LIU trustee Abraham Krasno , according to Lori Knapp, vice president of academic a airs at LIU Post. The awards were first of-fered in 1988. The process begins at the end of October when the campus-based committee initiates the call for nominations, which are then received in November and December. The committee makes a final decision in January. The David Newton Awards for Excellence in Teaching are awarded annually.

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